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4.8 out of 5 stars74
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 8 February 2002
Gosh, the memories!
I used to be nuts about these guys when I was 13 - completely obsessed! I had bought Hunting High and Low (and worn a hole in it!) and awaited a new offering with bated breath. This album was released on my 14th birthday, and I can remember traveling home on the bus, gingerly clutching and studying the cover (oh, for the days of vinyl when buying an LP was a REAL event!)
I certainly wasn't disappointed. In fact, I preferred this to the previous album, and it still remains one of my all-time favourites.
I guess if I'm brutally honest, there are a few weak, 80s-lite track (Maybe Maybe, in particular!) but there are some fantastic tunes as well. Unlike HH&L, Scoundrel Days defines a-ha's trademark lush melodic tunes and soaring vocals. It's a far more mature album, and many of the tracks have a timeless quality, that still sounds fresh today.
My own favourite is the incredibly sexy and powerful 'I've Been Losing You'. This is actually my favourite a-ha song ever. But 'Scoundrel Days' and 'The Swing of Things' are also among the best songs they've recorded.
Most people think of this band as a one-hit wonder ('Take on Me) but their career spanned many years and they are still producing some amazing music. Anyone who ever had an interest in the band, or in 80s music in general should defintely give this a listen!
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on 13 July 2010
This really is one of my all time favorites. First of all I bought this cassette in Chile way back in 1987. But I first heard "Cry Wolf" in the "Help Club" in Rio. And when I heard this club mix, I thought where in the world can you find this gem? Well much to my surprise here it is on this collection disk. My personal favorite track is "Soft Rains Of April". This really gives you this Fall/Winter feeling inside. These guys are truly "Outstanding Artists". It is ashamed that this will be there last tour. But to all fans out there, you better go out and get this. You really don't want to miss out. Cheers!

Howard Dick
USA
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on 12 December 2000
I just saw these guys in Oberhausen and when they played "I've been loosing you" somewhere in the middle of the gig, it hit me with such Royal Power that I could barely stay awake:) - I used to fall asleep to this album every night for years. Scoundral days, can change your life (if you have the album and you grew up in the 80's it probably already did). From the opening "Was that somebody screaming", Scoundral days is a journey in unique pop artwork (nothing sounds like this) The Swing Of Things, Manhattan Skyline and I've been loosing you are nothing but masterpieces!
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on 23 September 2005
A-ha's first album was a classic, this second album is actually an improvement and a huge leap forward for the band.
Take a listen and you will see what A-ha are really capable of, this is A-ha at their very best, most diverse and it all works together on a grander scale than 'Hunting high and low'.
'Scoundrel days' A low key piano and quiet vocals unleash into a monster chorus with mysterious lyrics - a mini epic.
'The swing of things' A great pop song, with heartfelt lyrics about missing a loved one and making choices in life.
'Iv'e been losing you' One of A-ha's best songs - fantastic lyrics, a rockier sound and killer chorus (See also - catchy middle bit and false ending!)
'October' Let this song wash over you, a simple synth ballad.
'Manahattan Skyline' Another mini epic - starting with harpsichord and bursting into a guitar heavy chorus, sounds like a different band have kidnapped A-ha and made them do 'rock'.
'Cry wolf' A catchy synth-driven song with crashing drums and non-stop bass line.
'We're looking for the whales' Another A-ha song that sounds like nothing else they (or anyone else) has done, sort of Motown meets Norwegian sailing song - with lots of hooks!
'The weight of the wind' A relentless, dark, pop song? Yes, A-ha at their best (again) with snarling lyrics, pan pipes and most importantly - a great tune.
'Maybe, maybe' There is much debate about this song and whether it should be on the album at all - it does have a jokey feel - but so did lot's of Beatles' songs! And its something of a relief from the intensity of the last few tracks.
'Soft rains of April' A beautiful ballad, with harps and synths, a good ending to a great record.
This album sounds like no-one else and has not dated at all over the last 20 years, buy it and be inspired by a truly great band.
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on 2 May 2004
In a nutshell - those who deride A-ha as a one-hit 80s pop act are pigeon-holing without noticing the breathtaking range of Morten Harket's voice. It is truly is one of those voices that makes you stop in your tracks to listen.
A-ha are classic 80s pop with a slightly dark Scandinavian edge in the undertones of some of the arrangements and lyrics, just to keep things interesting. Why else would they have been chosen to make a James Bond opening theme (The Living Daylights) after the peak of their fame? "I've Been Losing You" on this album is their own original precursor to the James Bond theme, and for me, their greatest song.
This album is a must for anyone looking for something slightly different in 80s pop, but knowing that every track is a safe bet on an album that will rarely be placed back into its case. The only thing sharper than Morten Harket's cheekbones is his voice.
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on 3 October 2002
If you're an a-ha fan and you don't own this album there is something wrong with you. From start to finish this is an immaculate album, with anthems levelling if not surpassing older hits such as "take on me" and "the sun always shines on tv". My personal favourites would have to be "the swing of things", and their own personal masterpiece "manhattan skyline", songs that touch the soul and beyond. Some criticise lesser tracks than "looking for the whales" and "maybe maybe", each has it's own charm and DO grown on you. Hidden gems would include the title track which certainly should have been released as a single, and "the weight of the wind" a heart pounding thrash out about someone who's clearly losing the plot. a-ha are brilliant make no mistake, and this is their legend.
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on 15 April 2004
I think A-ha fell into the same trap that Duran Duran did - always remembered more for their pretty faces and their videos when it was the music that really set them apart. Like Duran I think A-ha should sometime see a resurgence in their popularity, apparently their record company still gets more phonecalls about them than anyone else.. That is the mark of a band that was more than bubble-gum and even us 14 year olds were able to appreciate it back in 1986. I loved Hunting High & Low because it was more than 'pop', it was a spiritual journey, I loved Mortens vocals, the lyrics, the soaring other-worldly quality to their songs. But when I 1st heard 'I've Been Losing You' I knew I had to have their 2nd album too. It's thumping bass and powerful lyrics really hit me: in fact it still gives me the shivers now. And what a great false ending... But that was not the only surprise, I put the LP on and was hypnotised. One minute you could feel like you were standing on a cliff edge with racing clouds overhead and the sound of the waves crashing below you and then you could be sitting in the dark quietly letting the sound of Mortens voice wash over you and lull you to sleep. His voice just has this amazing quality to it, no-one else comes close.. This album showed such maturity - I don't think the critics knew what to make of it when they considered A-Ha a teeny band. My favourite tracks are I've Been Losing You, Manhattan Skyline (simply for being so different), October, Scoundrel Days and Swing of Things but all have their quirkiness, even Maybe Maybe which to me has a tongue in cheek McCartney-esque quality about it. I personally love the line 'Maybe it was over when she chucked me out the Rover at full speed' - almost Morrissey-style brilliant ;-) Looking for the Whales took me most getting used to but they are from Norway after all.. I LIKED the fact they were not like the churned out pap we got back then, they had it all, looks, talent and let their own unique style come through. This is not 80's music - this is timeless. I like it even more now than I did when I was 14 and you can't say that very often.
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on 13 May 2005
Along with ABC's Lexicon of Love and Propaganda's A Secret Wish, this is one of the key 1980s pop masterpieces. It's a shame that slack, lazy retrospectives have distilled A-ha down to just "Take on Me" (and even that is overshadowed by it's own pioneering video!) and nothing else. The song-writing and production on this polished jewel stand comparison with the very best albums ever made. Combining an instictive pop sensibility with complex song structures and mature lyrics give this album an appeal to anyone with ears!
Your life is poorer if you do not own a copy.
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on 11 July 2010
...it wasn't the Deluxe Edition, that makes no difference.

Or does it? Now that anything and everything appears ripe for this kind of special treatment, the appearance of a-ha's second album in a bells-and-whistles two disc format might seem merely routine. After all, what hasn't been either issued or rumoured to be issued in this way?

Well, there are very good reasons for celebration in this particular case.

Ever since its release in October 1986, the only existing Scoundrel Days CD had been based on the original. The 90s and 00s came and went without a reissue or remaster of any kind. So, first up this new edition makes good on that, restoring the beautiful sleeve artwork that adorned the Vinyl LP in the process. These little details matter!

Then there is the extra/bonus material, mostly (and sensibly) confined to the second disc. The demos are presented in a sequence that mirrors the main album (with a further version of the title track for good measure); a nice touch even if, sadly, the audio quality of some (notably The Swing Of Things and Cry Wolf) verges on the distorted. In conjunction with the informative liner notes, it's possible to build up a fascinating picture of how this album evolved from a mixture of discarded songs for their debut album and hastily-written songs on tour, while the demos included here of Scoundrel Days (v.1), I've Been Losing You and Weight Of The Wind give the clearest evidence of how they worked at moving from the Hunting High & Low sound to something darker and deeper. The difference between these early works, and the finished versions, is quite startling. Maybe Maybe, meanwhile - always the album's weakest link - is arguably better in demo form...and listen out for the completely daft "sock it to me!" ad libs in the supposedly moody and tortured Weight Of The Wind.

The extended mixes of its three singles are obviously welcome, and fit nicely onto the end of Disc 1, leaving Disc 2 for the demos, three B-sides, and Live recordings from a key Croydon gig in January 1987.

If that's not enough to tempt you...well, it's simply their best album. Always has been. The occasional sound issues aside, this is how it should be enjoyed.
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VINE VOICEon 3 February 2008
This was 'A-Ha's' second album which told the pop world that they had already become a force to be reckoned with!

I remember how sensational the opening track was to this upon first hearing, which had also happened to be the title track. This was to show their real potential as a great new attack on the pop charts, and I'd never followed a band so closely since the days of ABBA, and it felt more than a coincidence at the time that both bands were from Scandinavia.

Not only were some powerful singles released from this album, but some of their most powerful album material too - certainly one of their best albums. 'Manhattan Skyline' turned out to be my favourite single release up to then that I played to death, and should have given 'A-Ha' their second chart-topper. Ironically, this album was to include perhaps their weakest single thus far in: 'Cry Wolf'.

This album contains three hit singles and some of their catchiest and most powerful album material in; 'Scoundrel Days', 'We're Looking For The Whales', 'The Weight Of The Wind' and 'Maybe, Maybe'. It was tracks like 'October' and 'Soft Rains Of April' that were to lead us, ever so gently into that 'subliminal' side of 'A-Ha' that would emerge so much stronger on later and subsequent album releases.

Simply Sensational!
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